CINCINNATI -- At the grand old age of 22, Giovani Bernard is the old man of the Cincinnati Bengals' two-man running back tandem.
He's the more patient, more reserved and more reflective of the two. He likes to leap tall linebackers in a single bound and is quick to celebrate one of his many circus-like touchdown finishes by doling out high fives to his blockers.
Jeremy Hill is the bigger, more noticeable, slightly more flashy of the two. He likes shimmy past defensive linemen and enjoys celebrating his touchdowns with a popular dance or a pose for his fans.
While Bernard is simply fun to watch, Hill just likes to have fun.
Hill's fun-loving nature pushed him to Twitter less than two hours after he and Bernard rushed for a combined 164 yards in the Bengals' 24-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, prompting him to ask Bengals fans the following: "What's a good nickname for the duo?"
Within the tweet, he had a picture of himself and Bernard.
In the last four days, the suggestions have poured in.
"I just need something I can run with and that the fans will like and that we can just get going," Hill said Wednesday. "And just having fun -- that’s the biggest thing with it. To have something the fans can connect with, maybe make a few T-shirts and things of that nature and just get it going."
The 21-year-old rookie rushed for 74 yards on 15 carries against Atlanta. Hill also caught a screen pass on the Bengals' first drive that he converted into an 18-yard first down reception. On 27 carries, Bernard rushed for 90 yards and added his own 46-yard first-down reception off an improvised screen pass. About to get sacked, quarterback Andy Dalton shouted out Bernard's name -- "Gio!" -- before dumping an impromptu screen to Bernard, who wiggled around defenders for the big pickup.
As of Wednesday morning, there are at least two nickname suggestions that have passed the first round of Hill's cuts: the "Hue Live Crew" and "Hue Jack City."
The first suggestion came from a certain ESPN Bengals reporter who happened to suggest it on a whim to a fan who asked for his input on Twitter. Both suggestions are nods to offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, whose scheme promised long ago to make the two backs key figures. It could be argued that last Sunday's game was exactly what the Bengals had in mind for Hill and Bernard when they drafted Hill in May.
However, Jackson already shot down the "Hue Jack City" nickname suggestion. When he was the head coach in Oakland in 2011, fans nicknamed the East Bay Area city "Hue Jack City" as an homage to the 1991 movie "New Jack City." There was even a song and a music video that went with the nickname.
"No, that won’t happen. That’s an old name," said Jackson, who was fired after leading the Raiders to an 8-8 season, one of their best since 2002. "That name’s over with. That name has to RIP. May that name rest in peace. That name is gone."
Hill didn't rule out either of the aforementioned nickname possibilities, and said he has no deadline for when they must be decided.
"We’re not settling finalists yet, but they’re definitely nominees," Hill said, laughing. "We have to keep them going and hopefully we have some performances like we did Sunday so we can get more suggestions out there."
By | Coley Harvey